AHDB/HGCAs Early Bird Survey of farmersplanting intentions shows a sharp rise in the total area of wheat and winterbarley for harvest 2014 compared to last year.
The team of agronomists assessing 280,000haof arable land across Great Britain forecast that the total wheat area,including spring wheat, will increase by 22% to 1.98m hectares at the UK level.
In this annual autumn survey, which providesthe industry with a first snapshot of national planting decisions, croppingchanges on individual farms in GB were taken as a representation of national UKchanges, assessing crops already drilled and growers planting intentions.
Jack Watts, AHDB/HGCA Lead Analyst, said:This autumn weve had good drilling conditions across the UK and, as aconsequence, we are looking at a return to a more normal cropping mix forharvest 2014 following a large shift to spring cropping in 2013. The return ofa more normal UK wheat area is the first step to the UK returning to the exportmarket, although yields and quality remain weather dependent. History shows that when farmers are able to turnintentions into reality, the Early Bird Survey gives a good indication of areasfor key autumn sown crops in the UK.
Winter barley is also set to increase 55% to484,000ha compared with 2013, and is the highest UK winter barley area seen ina decade. Additionally, the survey predicts the second highest oilseedrape area ever cropped, behind 2012, at 740,000ha; an increase of 3% againstthe estimated harvest area of 2013.
Due to the good autumn planting conditionscompared with last year, areas of spring barley, pulses and fallow land areexpected to fall to pre-2013 levels. The spring barley area is forecast to drop40% to 534,000ha and, although the oat area looks set to decrease by 26% to130,000ha, this still represents a relatively large area of oats.
Jack Watts added: The conditions in 2012/13led many farmers to change their usual crop rotations, and some famers willstill be dealing with the consequences of this.
The Early Bird Survey is led by theAndersons Centre, supported by the Association of Independent Crop Consultantsand HGCA, the cereals and oilseeds division of AHDB.
The full Early Bird Survey results areprinted in the latest issue of Prospects, which is available from HGCA.
AHDB/HGCAs December Planting Survey, issuedon 1 December with results published in February 2014, will help the industrygain a more detailed insight into plantings for 2014.